Who Said the Holidays Have to Be Stressful?






Okay, raise your hand if you get stressed out during the holiday season?


With all of the to-dos and decorating and gifting and baking and family drama and increased work load, stress seems to be an appropriate accompaniment to this time of year.


And now more than ever it is so important that we appropriately manage stress. Why, might you ask?


Did you know that 75-90% of all healthcare visits are connected to stress-related conditions?

Pretty crazy, right?


What is stress?


Stress is a feeling of emotional or physical tension. It can come from any event or thought that makes you feel a negative emotion or pressure to perform. This can include confusion, anger, overwhelm, sadness, panic, etc. Stress is your body's fight or flight reaction to a threat, hardship, or responsibility.


The main stress hormone is called cortisol. Dysregulated cortisol levels (meaning too high or low) can mean…


weight gain

depression

Infertility / PCOS

Insomnia

Skin conditions

Burnout

Weakness

Sugar or salt cravings

Low or high bp


...which tells us that stress can have SERIOUS implications on our health and our goals.


What are the signs?


Physical signs of stress can include:


headache

low energy

upset stomach

insomnia

chest pain

fatigue

brain fog

aches and pains in muscles

low libido


But of course, when it comes to stress, we want to manage it before it gets to this point. Think of it like playing on offense rather than defense.


Let's talk about stress & the gut


The brain and gut have a powerful connection and communication system in place, and stress can potentially wreak havoc on that communication system. “Emotional and physical stress is often associated with gastrointestinal symptoms, such as abdominal discomfort, heartburn, indigestion, and change in bowel habits,” says Spencer D. Dorn, M.D., M.P.H., M.H.A., associate professor of medicine and vice chief of clinical operations in the division of gastroenterology at UNC Department of Medicine.


Our eating habits typically change around the holidays with more on-the-go foods, sugary treats, and savory meals, so this accompanied with increased stress can cause a lot of gut discomfort. And who wants an upset stomach during the most wonderful time of year?


So how can we manage the stress?


To keep your stress at bay during the holidays (or any day for that matter), I suggest:


  1. Mindfulness practices like journaling or yoga - Take time to sit still or be quiet for a few minutes each day. Do a devotion. Meditate. Practice gratitude. Take a walk. Whatever you need to do to calm your mind.

  2. Physical activity - Movement not only benefits your physical body, but it also boosts your mood, increases energy, and releases endorphins.

  3. Proper sleep - Inadequate sleep can perpetuate stress and the negative impacts of it, so make sure you prioritize high quality sleep.

  4. Prioritize self care - Invest in yourself in simple ways, whether that be a nap, a hot shower, a manicure, or a walk with a friend.

  5. Some supplements may help with cortisol levels, but do your research and consult a doctor before use.


Here to support you and help you manage stressors in your life! DM me to talk more about it 👏

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